Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

The Two Wars in Iraq and Mistaken Republican Support for Obama

April 18, 2008

Rusty has an excellent analysis of the wars in Iraq (yes, I said wars plural).  I covers the idea that I’ve thought of, and others have mentioned, that there were two phases to the war:  The invasion phase, in which we kicked some serious butt, and the occupation phase, where mistakes have been made and butt-kicking didn’t really happen til a year ago.  He takes the model much further, and applies it to the Democrat’s, and some Republican’s failing support for finishing the job.

[T]he root function of language is to control the universe by describing it.
–James Baldwin.

Bush screwed the pooch in Iraq. There is a good argument to be made that we should not have invaded in the first place.* There is no good argument that we should leave.

This conclusion is inevitable when one comes to the same realization as me. There was a war in Iraq and there is a war in Iraq. In fact, there we’ve had two wars in Iraq: Iraq War I & Iraq War II.

The war now is not the same as that war. The first war in Iraq was against Saddam Hussein, the second war is against Islamists of various stripes, but mainly al Qaeda.

Many of the arguments used by those who keep reminding us that Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was a mistake are valid. While Saddam Hussein strategically supported groups linked to Osama bin Laden, there was not a substantial al Qaeda presence in Iraq prior to the invasion. Ansar al Islam, the main Sunni Islamist group in Iraq prior to the invasion that would eventually morph into al Qaeda in Iraq, operated nearly exclusively in the Kurdish north—a zone not firmly under Hussein’s sovereignty.

All would agree that the invasion liberated Iraqis from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. That was the First Iraq War.* It ended the day Saddam Hussein was captured.

The post-invasion period subjected Iraqis to the tyranny of chaos. The vacuum left by the Baathist police state was filled by yet another tyranny: the tyranny of Sunni Islamists, like al Qaeda; and the tyranny of Shia Islamists, like those following Muqtada al Sadr. This is when the Second Iraq War started.

The first war was against Iraq, a nation-state. The second war is against terrorists and Islamist rebels.

It is true that mistakes made in the first war led to the second war. It may also be true that our national security was not enhanced by that first war.

But the first war is over. We won. Handily. Easily. It’s history.

 

As they say, read the rest.  You’ll be impressed and enlightened.

Iraq As the Central Front In the Fight With Jihad

April 10, 2008

In today’s Wall Street Journal, the Iraqi Ambassador to the United States Samir Sumaida’ie wrote an editorial laying out the reasons we should stay in Iraq until they have the ability to stand on their own.

Five years after Saddam Hussein was toppled from power, Iraq and the U.S. face important choices for their future relationship – choices that will have profound long-term ramifications for both countries.

…Iraq and the U.S. face important choices for their future relationship – choices that will have profound long-term ramifications for both countries.

I submit that it (the U.S.) cannot afford to lose this fight to its enemies. The destinies of the U.S. and Iraq have become intertwined and their national interests very closely linked.

The convulsions of a society battered by decades of brutality and deprivation are all too evident. But the resilience, tenacity and commitment to national unity are no less evident. The glass may be half-empty, but it is also half full and filling up. Slowly perhaps, but surely. The achievements which Iraqis have accomplished under fire spanning the security, economic and political spheres stand as a testimony to their determination to succeed.

Today, the world is facing a new and dangerous threat of international extremism and terrorism. The epicenter of this confrontation is Iraq. The new enemy is harder to defeat because it is not confined to a state, though some states are involved in its creation and promotion. It is diffused throughout many societies. But this enemy can and must be defeated. As the struggles of the last century shaped our world, this struggle will shape the world for generations to come.  (emphasis mine)

This is hardly the only example of someone realizing that Iraq is the central front in the so-called Global War on Terror. 

In 2005, President Bush made the case, stating

Just as terrorists “regard Iraq as the central front in the war on humanity,” the United States must recognize it as “the central front in our war on terror,”

Indeed, Bush realized this in 2003, when he said

Two years ago, I told the Congress and the country that the war on terror would be a lengthy war, a different kind of war, fought on many fronts in many places. Iraq is now the central front. Enemies of freedom are making a desperate stand there — and there they must be defeated.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s number two man,

said in 2005 the same thing.

The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq.

The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or emirate, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of a caliphate

The third stage: Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq.

The fourth stage: It may coincide with what came before: the clash with Israel, because Israel was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity.

No less than Usama Bin Laden himself has identified Iraq as the central front, saying in 2004

Bin Laden identified the insurgency in Iraq as “a golden and unique opportunity” for jihadists to engage and defeat the United States, and he characterized the insurgency in Iraq as the central battle in a “Third World War, which the Crusader-Zionist coalition began against the Islamic nation.”

The nation of Iran obviously sees the importance of it, shoveling  money, materiel, and military advisors to both Sunni and Shia forces.  According to the leader of Hamas in Iraq, AQI has received money, weapons, and training from Iran, and he sees Iran as wanting to rule, changing the ideology and demographics in Iraq.

The examples of Iran funding and assisting both sides in Iraq are numerous. One after another, after another. Why would they want to do this?  One would think the answer would be obvious.  They are trying to create chaos for two reasons.  One, to get us to lose our political will and leave.  Two, to weaken the internal forces in Iraq, so they can step in and rule, creating the caliphate so hoped for by Mahmoud Ahmedinijad. 

The only people in the world who don’t see Iraq as the central front, it would appear, are people on the Left like the Great Leader Harry Reid, with his infamous statement

“I believe … that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week,”

Never mind that this was months before the surge was even fully implemented.  Never mind that it has turned out to be quite successful.  What do the AQI folks have to say about the defeatists?

This comes on the heels of an important statement by House Majority Leader Harry Reid who previously said, “The Iraqi war is hopeless and the situation in Iraq is same as it was in Vietnam.”

This is how the cross worshipping occupiers and their henchmen live. Their morale continues to collapse as the result of the increasing strikes of the Mujahideen, carried out by the grace of Allah.
  (emphasis mine)

We went into Iraq for very good reasons.  Indeed, the evidence of WMD’s in Iraq is still coming out, and Saddam did indeed have many terrorist ties.  However, I believe that there were other strategies involved in President Bush’s decision to go into Iraq. 

One:  If we could establish stable nation-states on either side of Iran, that would surround them, putting ideological, religious, and military pressure on them. 

Two:  the mujahadeen are spread all over the world.  Even in Afghanistan, that is awful territory to try to fight them and root them out.  In Iraq, the field of battle is more open (both literally and figuratively) to doing battle.  We established a location to do battle with the jihadis on our terms, not theirs.  One that is more conducive to our ability to fight, not theirs.  In addition, Iraq is closer to the heart of islam, and it has drawn in fighters from all over the world in a way Afghanistan never did.  This has drawn them into one location, allowing us to kill or capture them instead of them being spread around, doing their planning in secret, and bringing the fight to us on our own homeland.

I wrote in a previous post about hard facts supporting the idea that our enemies pay attention to our media, and react accordingly.  Notice that while the war in Afghanistan is important to the Mujahideen, it is primarily a regional matter, with fighters from there and Pakistan, and primarily a Sunni concern.  Both Sunni and Shia forces from across the whole Middle East, and indeed across the world, have been involved in Iraq. 

Our Left may not see Iraq as central to the future shape of world events, but our enemies surely do.  They pay attention to what our defeatists here say, too.

It Seems That Hillary’s Not the Only One With Pants On Fire (part four)

April 3, 2008

I guess I should’ve known I’d have to be adding a part four.  I completely left off the 100 year in Iraq thing.  As is commonly now known, back in January, John McCain was at a townhall meeting, and was asked how long we were going to be in Iraq.  McCain explained the matter in detail with the questioner, laying out the rationale for keeping the region stable.

No. I talked earlier about the suicide bombs and the continued threats. And then what happens is American troops withdraw and they withdraw to bases and then they eventually withdraw, or we reach an arrangement like we have in South Korea, with Japan. We still have troops in Bosnia. But the fact is it’s American casualties that the American people care about and those casualties are on the way down rather dramatically. And the option, and I’ll say this again because you’ve got to consider the option. If we had withdrawn six months ago, I’d look you in the eye and tell you Al Queda would have said we beat the United States of America. If we’d gone along with Harry Reid and said the war was lost to Al Queda, then we would be fighting that battle all over the Middle East, and I am convinced of that and so is General Petraeus as well as others. So I can tell you that it’s going to be long and hard and tough. I can tell you the option of defeat is incredible and horrendous. And I can tell you and look you in the eye and tell you that this strategy is succeeding. And what we care about is not American presence, we care about American casualties and those casualties I believe will be dramatically and continue to be reduced. Please follow up. E.H.: I do not believe that one U.S. soldier being killed almost every day is success. There were three U.S. soldiers killed today. I want to know how long are we going to be there? Are you are you … Mr. McCain: How long do you want us to be in South Korea? How long do you want to be in Bosnia? E.H. There’s no fighting going on in South Korea. Let’s not talk about South Korea. Let’s come back to Iraq. Mr. McCain: Thank you sir, and I can look you in the eye and tell you that those casualties tragically continue as I made very clear in my opening remarks. But they are much less and we will eventually eliminate them. And again the option of setting a date for withdrawal is a date for surrender and we would then have many more casualties and many more American sacrifice, if we withdraw with setting a date for surrender. Now you and I have an honest open disagreement, but I can tell you six months ago that people like you who believe like you said the surge would never succeed. And it is succeeding. And I’ve been there and I have seen it with my very own eyes. E.H.: President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years — Mr. McCain: Maybe a hundred. We’ve been in South Korea, we’ve been in japan for 60 years. We’ve been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That’d be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. Then it’s fine with me, I hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al Queda is training, recruiting, equipping and motivating people every single day.

 It’s completely clear, to anyone with three brain cells rubbing together, that McCain isn’t talking about being at war for one hundred years.  He’s talking about a similar situation we have in Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Bosnia.  Those have been, and are, volatile regions, and our presence there accomplishes two things:  1) we provide stability just by our being there, just as you don’t drive over the speed limit when there’s a police officer parked on the side of the road.  2) If problems do break out, we are right there, ready to stomp on them.  If your forces are out of theater, in Kuwait, or according to the great military mind and Marine slanderer John Murtha, we should redeploy our forces to Okinawa, so, you know, “we can redeploy there almost instantly.” 

Okay, that’s the setup.  Barack Obama jumped on that, and has the Left convinced that McCain wants us at war in Iraq for 100 years. 

 Obama has kept that meme going ever since he became the front runner.  As part of Obama’s strategy of pushing Hillary over the cliff, he has taken the attitude that it is John McCain he’s running against instead of Hillary right now, as if the Democrat nominee has been settled.  Which isn’t a bad strategy, it puts the idea in people’s minds that he is Presidential, and she’s just a mosquito harassing him. 

The problem with this, as it relates to McCain, is that the 100 year meme he’s selling is bankrupt.  Just two days ago, Obama insisted that he isn’t taking McCain out of context.

 In a back and forth at today’s press conference, Obama insisted he was not taking out of context McCain’s comments about keeping troops in Iraq for 100 years. Asked if his attack was disingenuous, Obama had the following to say:

“I don’t think it’s unfair at all,” Obama said. “John McCain, I mean, we can run the YouTube spot, has said that we will stay there as long as it takes. And if it takes another 100 years, he’s up for that commitment and that implies that there is some criteria by which we would understand how long it takes.

The press is beginning to notice this little discrepancy in Obama’s, er, interpretation.  The Politico.  ABC.  Of course, Fox News is on it as well.  The Columbia Journalism Review, one of the top J-schools in the nation. Even the New York Times and the AP.

The Freepers have an extensive roundup on all the media outlets calling Obama on his lying and misleading on this issue.

A commenter on the MSNBC story has a completely salient point:

Wait — It’s ok for us to see a 10 second clip of McCain on YouTube, but it’s not ok to see 30 second clip of Rev. Wright on YouTube?

Obama, make up your mind.  

Then there’s the news yesterday.  It seems Obama has been running around, bashing those eeeviille fat cats at Big Oil, stating:

“Since the gas lines of the ’70s, Democrats and Republicans have talked about energy independence, but nothing’s changed — except now Exxon’s making $40 billion a year, and we’re paying $3.50 for gas.
I’m Barack Obama. I don’t take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists, and I won’t let them block change anymore. They’ll pay a penalty on windfall profits. We’ll invest in alternative energy, create jobs and free ourselves from foreign oil. I approve this message because it’s time that Washington worked for you. Not them.”

Well, ABC reports that Obama’s claim doesn’t quite hold water, calling it Obama’s Oil Slick.  Tapper reports that

Factcheck.org today takes a look at Obama’s claim to not take money from oil companies and concludes that the statement  “misleading” since according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive PoliticsObama has taken more than $213,000 from individuals (and their spouses) who work for companies in the oil and gas industry — not to mention that two of Obama’s top fundraisers are top executives at oil companies

It is literally true that Obama doesn’t take money from oil companies. No federal candidate does — corporations have been banned from direct contributions since 1907.

The Obama campaign points out that the senator doesn’t take money from PACs or from lobbyists. Factcheck.org calls that a “distinction without very much of a practical difference. Political action committee funds are pooled contributions from a company’s or an organization’s individual employees or members; corporate lobbyists often have a big say as to where a PAC’s donations go. But a PAC can give no more than $5,000 per candidate, per election. We’re not sure how a $5,000 contribution from, say, Chevron’s PAC would have more influence on a candidate than, for example, the $9,500 Obama has received from Chevron employees giving money individually.”

(Sen. Hillary Clinton has taken $306,000 in donations from people in the oil and gas industry, incidentally.)

Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air has a good evaluation of Obama:

Barack Obama has started getting some major-league vetting from the media, and so far he looks like a AAA prospect brought up a season or two too early.

Put this on top of the CJR article about which AP wrote so well earlier, and we can start sensing a shift in coverage for Obama. It started with the Saturday Night Live satire that skewered the national media’s apple-polishing coverage of Obama for the previous year, which coincided with the start of the Tony Rezko trial. Obama’s rumored distance with beat reporters may have contributed to the shift as well, but whatever prompted it, the press has started testing Obama — and so far, he has responded poorly.

Maybe that’s why he seems to be so testy, snapping at an adoring fan.  Repeatedly.

More updates to come, if I were a betting man.

Marine Corporal David Thibodeaux Has A Message for Us All

March 23, 2008

God Bless Cpl Thibodeaux and the Marine Corps.

Harvard economists’ study: Media’s anti-war rhetoric emboldens Iraqi insurgents

March 13, 2008

Via Hot Air:

Are insurgents affected by information on US casualty sensitivity? Using data on attacks and variation in access to international news across Iraqi provinces, we identify an “emboldenment” effect by comparing the rate of insurgent attacks in areas with higher and lower access to information about U.S news after public statements critical of the war.  We find in periods after a spike in war-critical statements, insurgent attacks increases by 5-10 percent. The results suggest that insurgent groups respond rationally to expected probability of US withdrawal. As such counterinsurgency should consider deterrence and incapacitation rather than simply search and destroy missions.

Well, my first reaction here is DUH!  That being said, these are Harvard economists, with no apparent dog in the hunt, they simply had a hypothesis, looked at the data, crunched the numbers, and analyzed them.  God Bless them, looking at their paper, it’s a whole lot of data, a whole lot of formulae.  More math than this puny brain can handle. 

Now, on to the meat of the matter.  Reading the paper, there are quite a few relevant parts that jump out at you.  Things that seem like common sense, that we on the Right have been trying to tell the MSM (heretofore to be known as the dinosaur media), the Democrats, and the Hate America First Lefties like Code Pink for some time now. 

Is there evidence for an emboldenment effect in Iraq?
 snip
We find that in periods immediately after a spike in anti-resolve statements, the level of insurgent attacks increases. Among provinces matched on a broad set of social and economic indicators, insurgent attacks increase between 7-10%.

These results suggest, first, that there is a small but measurable cost to open public debate in the form of higher attacks in the short-term, and, second, that insurgent organizations – even those motivated by religious or ideological goals – are strategic actors.

As I said, we’ve been trying, rather unsuccessfully, to tell the Left this for years now.

How might the perceived level of US resolve influence an insurgent organization’s choice of violence? First, declining resolve might directly raise the level of anti-government violence initiated by the insurgents as insurgents respond to information that increasing the costs of engagement will force the US to withdraw.8 Second, declining resolve might reduce support among the wider population for the incumbent government increasing the number of individuals willing to participate in the insurgency. These “fence-sitters” are the critical population for
victory.9 The key point of contention is security – creating the belief among the population that pro-government forces can offer better protection than anti-government forces.10 The perception of declining resolve can reduce support for the government among the population if it places the commitment to population protection in doubt. Fence-sitters no longer feel safe remaining loyal to the government and are less likely to collaborate with the government if the counter-insurgent forces cannot credibly protect them from future reprisals from insurgents.

This point is huge.  The ‘fence sitters’ have been crucial to the success of the Surge.  Our military successes have been essential, of course, but the locals have learned a number of things in the last year.  Among them, we are not the enemy, but their friends.  They’ve learned to shut AQ, the Baathists and other insurgent groups out.  They’ve learned that they were damned tired of being bullied, and formed local militias and to fight them, right along side our guys many times.  They’ve learned to work with the local government, giving up the bad guys.  Most importantly, they’ve learned to form local governments.  One of the mistakes that the left has always made is that good government is from the top down.  The federal government is all, and all that.  We on the right have always understood that good government starts at the local level.  They’re doing that over there, and it’s beginning to trickle up.

The perception of declining resolve may also improve insurgent recruitment, as individuals seek to bandwagon with what appears to be the winning side.

Again, they’ve been bandwagonning (is that a word?  It is now…) like crazy.  To our side. 

However, reports indicate that insurgents in Iraq are particularly watchful of the media, and that the tactics used by al Qaeda in particular heavily rely on the propaganda potential of large media sources. According to Bruce Hoffman, a counterinsurgency expert and director of the RAND office in Washington, D.C., “What I think has made the insurgency in Iraq so different from previous ones is the insurgents’ enormous media savvy.”27  Others have documented, based on insurgent-generated media such as websites, the extent to which Iraqi insurgent groups are detailed consumers of news on U.S. politics and policy.28

Get that?  They pay attention to our media, and use them for propaganda purposes.  These aren’t cave-dwellers, and they ain’t stoopid.

On average, high mention weeks have more attacks and fatalities than low mention weeks in all periods.

The ‘mention’ in ‘High mention’ is regarding times in which anti war polls and statements receive media attention.

…comparing high satellite (television dish access, ed.) to low satellite regions in the week after high mentions, there appears to be a sizable increase in the number of attacks in high satellite regions relative to low satellite regions.

Again, these people are media savvy.  They pay attention to our media.   The regions with lots of access to our media increase their attacks after the polls, or statements by Democrat elected officials, or Cindy Sheehan goes on another stunt.

The main effect of greater access to satelliteTV is positive, consistent with the expectation that higher satellite regions will experience more attacks. There is no significant difference following high and low mention weeks across regions in the pre-election season, but there is a significant difference in the election and post-election season, with the coefficients implying once again a relatively large increase of 30-40 percent.

That ‘election and post-election season’?  The 2006 elections, folks.  The ones where the Democrats ramped up their rhetoric dramatically.  The one where the media wing of the Democrat party played along and showed nothing but bad.  You wind up with a viscous cycle.  The Left wails, and knashes their teeth about how bad the war is going, and the dinosaur media splashes it all over the airwaves.  Our friends in Iraq see this, see the chance to alter the course of events here, so they ramp up the violence.  This higher violence leads to more squealing, more media coverage, more violence, and round and round we go.  The violence continued after the elections because the bad guys obviously thought they’d found their ‘hope’ for ‘change’, and could force the squeamish Democrats into pulling out.  Well, not for lack of trying.  What are they up to now, 58 defunding bills?  59?  Every single one has gone down in flames.  Despite the taste for defeat that the Democrat ‘leadership’ has, enough of their membership at least still has some sense that America isn’t a loser.  They pulled that crap with Vietnam, and it hurt us.  Badly. 

Table 4 presents the effect of media mentions and poll releases on fatalities. There appears to be an increase in the number of fatalities of U.S. military forces and a decrease in the number of non-U.S. fatalities.

The perceived increase in returns after poll releases or media mentions may increase the willingness of insurgents to try to target U.S. military personnel.

Get that?  When the media mentions fatalities, and they do result driven polls (yes, they do that by how they ask the questions. duh.), our soldiers and marines get killed in higher numbers!  It encourages them to go after our brave guys and gals, in order to effect policy!  Spit.  Effers.

For example, debate about the vulnerability of unarmored vehicles to IED attacks, and criticism of the inability of the DOD to produce more, gives information about a specific U.S. military vulnerability and thus may increase in attacks relative to areas not exposed to the new information as quickly. This is consistent with high satellite areas should experience an increase in attacks on U.S. targets relative to other targets in comparison to low satellite areas.  Overall the evidence from Tables 3 and 4 are consistent with those in Table 5 and present evidence that there is a spike in attacks after information regarding US sensitivity to insurgent imposed
costs is available. This spike is consistent with strategic behavior by insurgent groups:  when the returns to insurgent attacks are higher, and in particular when the returns to inflicting U.S. military fatalities are higher, Iraqi insurgent groups increase efforts to attack US targets.
This increase lasts for about 2 weeks, after which there is no significant difference between high and low satellite regions.34 The number of fatalities appears to significantly increase in the week after information on casualty sensitivity is released and is higher but insignificant in future weeks.

The media runs a flurry of stories about, say, how our soldiers are soooo unprotected in unarmored Hummvees.  (Never mind that the Hummvee was never intended to be armored, nor were IEDs a problem early on)  The stories flood the airwaves.  The dinosaur media are just concerned for our soldier’s safety, you know.  The Democrats run to hold press briefings about how eeeville Booooshhhhh is for not protecting them.  (that Hummvee thing is still quite the meme for the left today)  The bad guys, who at that point, hadn’t been doing that many IED attacks, see CNN running the stories about how our soldiers in Hummvees are vulnerable to IED attack. 

“Hey, Achmed!  Yes, Muhammed?  Guess what?  These fools on CNN are showing us how to kill the infidels!  Allahu Akhbar!!”

Yeah, Allahu Akhbar is what they also cry as they set off the damned bombs.  I’ve seen some of the video.  These monsters kill not only our soldiers and marines, but women and children with their God on their lips.  Praise God and pass the ammo.

Overall, the results presented in this paper suggest several important facts. First, the findings suggest that there is an explicit and quantifiable cost to public debate during wartime in the form of increased attacks. Based on these results, it appears that Iraqi insurgent groups believe
that when the U.S. political landscape is more uncertain, initiating a higher level of attacks increases the likelihood that the U.S. will reduce the scope of its engagement in the conflict.

The bad guys believe that when there is squalling and wailing about how eviiiille the war is, and how we need to ‘end it now’, and when you have political ‘leaders’ rushing in front of every camera telling the world that the war is illegal and it needs to stop now, they believe we will bail out.

Second, the insurgent response to low resolve periods may not represent an overall increase in the total number of attacks, but rather a change in the timing of attacks.38 Because it may be difficult and costly to increase the frequency of attacks in a particular time period, insurgent groups may only seek to do this when the returns are sufficiently high. New information about U.S. cost-sensitivity increases the perceived return to violence and thus insurgent groups condense the violence they would have committed over several weeks into a shorter time horizon. To the extent that these additional attacks represent timing decisions
designed to manipulate U.S. public opinion, simply recognizing this fact reduces some of the strategic value of that substitution.

They don’t actually increase the number of total attacks, but squeeze them all into a short period of time, because of the ‘shock and awe’ effect on our squeamish Democrats and gullible, non-informed public.  They realize they can get the best bang for the buck, in other words.

Third, regardless of whether the observed effect represents an overall increase or intertemporal substitution, the evidence in this study indicates that insurgent groups are strategic actors that respond to the incentives created by the policies and actions of the counterinsurgent
force, rather than groups driven by purely ideological concerns with little sensitivity to costs.  There appears to be a systematic response of Iraqi insurgent groups to information about the U.S.  willingness to remain in Iraq and/or public support for the war.

Again, these aren’t dumb cave-dwellers.  They respond to incentives, good or bad.  We give them the stick, backed up by a spine, they back off and less of our guys die.  We give them a sign that we’re weak, and have no spine?  They amp up the attacks and more of our guys die.  One would have thought we’d learned that lesson after all of the increasing attacks of the 1990s, culminating in September 11, 2001.

The arguments and evidence presented in this paper suggest that insurgent groups do appear to respond to U.S. cost-sensitivity(e.g. our public willingness to continue the war – ed.). The result is that insurgents attack more frequently and kill or injure more U.S. service men and women.

I sure hope the authors of this study are prepared for the vitriol that’s about to be coming their way.  The Left doesn’t like it too much when they get news they don’t like, and they tend to get kinda ugly when they don’t like something.  Trust me.  I’ve seen over on their sites.  It ain’t purdy.

U.S. captures Iranian special forces commander near Baghdad

March 4, 2008

Good news on this one, especially with the surprising news from the military that Iran is trying to weaken the Anbar Awakening, and help AQI.

Monday, March 3, 2008       Free Headline Alerts

U.S. captures Iranian special forces commander near Baghdad

BAGHDAD — The U.S.-led coalition has captured a senior Iranian operative who helped finance and equip Shi’ite militias.U.S. Army paratroopers detained the suspected senior leader of the Iranian-sponsored Special Groups network during an operation in Baghdad’s Beida neighborhood on Feb. 27.

Officials said the Special Groups was trained and equipped by Iran. They said the organization, believed to comprise a series of cells, introduced the Explosively-Formed Penetrator, designed to destroy U.S. — and other Western origin main battle tanks. 

NORTHEAST ASIA:Former U.S. envoy has sense something in N. Korean air ‘is changing’ MIDDLE EAST:Turkey attacks Kurds; U.S. calls for halt NORTH AFRICA:Lawmakers urge China to help in Darfur
“The loss of yet another senior Special Groups leader places additional stress on the criminal Special Groups network,” Maj. Trey Rutherford, executive officer for the 2nd Bn., 325th Abn. Inf. Regt., said.”The network’s armament caches are being discovered and destroyed,” Rutherford said. “Even more importantly, the Special Groups element is being recognized by locals for what it is — a criminal force focused on instilling fear, for monetary profit, in the people they claim to protect.”The Special Groups was first detected in 2007 as the Mahdi Army became splintered into rival factions. Since August 2007, the Mahdi Army has honored a ceasefire against the U.S.-led coalition, a decision that raised the profile of the Special Groups.

Officials said the unidentified Special Groups leader was captured after he left Sadr City, the teeming Shi’ite area that serves as the headquarters for Iranian-sponsored militias. They said the suspect has been a key facilitator in the procurement and movement of weapons in northeast Baghdad. He was also said to have been involved in the abduction, torture and death of Iraqis.

The coalition and Iraq have been receiving increasing cooperation from Shi’ites in identifying and capturing operatives from the Special Groups. Officials said the organization has been mostly engaged in intimidating Shi’ite businessmen.

“The network is cornered in Sadr City, and every member of the criminal group who sets foot outside is being captured rapidly,” Rutherford said.

Good job guys, you’re making us proud.

AQI On the Run

March 2, 2008

A good piece over at Hot Air by new addition Ed Morrissey from Captain’s Quarter’s. 

Two of the leaders responsible for killing five of our guys rather quickly hunted down and sent to their 72 raisins.  How?  Local intelligence, folks.  These people in Iraq are sick and damned tired of these monsters, realize that we, and their own army are the good guys, and are ratting the dirtbags out. 

We keep hearing from the Left that the surge is only working because we’re chasing them out of Baghdad into Mosul.  They’re on the run there too.  The bad guys are dying, dead, or being captured at fantastic rates.  Meanwhile, our casualties continue to drop dramatically. 

Good going guys, and kudos to the locals for being brave enough to rat these bastards out.

My Solution to Iraq Is to Never Have Gone There

March 2, 2008

Too durned funny not to post… via IMAO:

 Iraq continues to be a serious problem, and the Bush administration has done nothing but increase the problem and cause unnecessary deaths. It is a mess, but I have a solution: I would never have gone there.

 The Iraq War will be a big problem to inherit, but it would not be if we hadn’t have gone there. That’s why that is my solution. People ask me, “Won’t leaving Iraq now be abandoning the Iraqi people?” Well, it wouldn’t be abandoning them if we hadn’t had gone there. “What about a civil war?” others ask, to which I say there would be no civil war if Saddam were still in charge because we didn’t go to Iraq. As you can see, not having gone to Iraq easily solves all these problems.

“I do have experience: Experience at not going to war.”

 As for Al Qaeda in Iraq, I don’t think they would be a problem if we hadn’t had gone. Maybe they already were there and working with some support from Saddam, but I still think not having gone there is a risk worth taking. You may worry about all the terrorists there and whether they have intentions for attacking America, but you wouldn’t if we hadn’t had gone.

 Senator John McCain questions whether I have experience enough to deal with Iraq, but the fact is that he’s old. No one faints at his rallies… unless they forgot their heart medication because they’re as old as he is. And I do have experience: Experience at not going to war. That’s why not having gone to Iraq is the perfect solution for me. It’s one I’m uniquely able to espouse and have been consistent on. Years ago I said we shouldn’t invade Iraq, and that is still my solution.

 A few have said that not going to Iraq isn’t a solution anymore since we already have gone there. I hear your concern and I have three words for you: Hope. Change. The future.

 That’s right: The future. And not just any future; a future where we look forward and say, “We shouldn’t have gone to Iraq.”

Barack Obama is a U.S. Senator from Illinois who enjoys nap time and finger painting. He is running for president.